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“I am so impressed with the work Carmen does. Each time I visited her home, the children were so happy.”

Elizabeth Sokol
Early Intervention Specialist
Anne Sullivan Center

Acton Discovery Museums Come to Acre Family Child Care

Children at a long bench, working on art projects

 Acre Family Child Care's Partnership with the Acton Discovery Museums


Since 2006, The Discovery Museums has partnered with Acre Family Care to offer Exploring the Wonders of Science with Family Day Cares. This program provides a variety of hands-on, science experiences for family day care providers and the families they serve. During the four years of this collaboration, total attendance for the program has reached greater than 700 children, parents, and family day care providers residing in Lowell, MA. The collaboration is unique because it brings together two institutions from different segments of the non-profit sector in a manner that furthers the impact of both of their missions. The program brings the museum experience to underserved populations - key to The Museums' commitment to provide access and resources to members of all communities in the region.
Program Overview
Exploring the Wonders of Science with Family Day Cares currently presents five programs to the Acre Family Day Care community during the summer season.. The Discovery Museums maintains the relationship with the Agency throughout the year. The Museums participates in the Agency's summer program series by providing science activities for the Ice Cream Social and Field Day events, hosting a museum open house in Acton, MA, along with the professional development workshop for the family day care providers. In 2009, The Discovery Museums organized its first Water Discovery Day for the families.

Exploring the Wonders of Science with Family Child Cares has been mutually beneficial to both non-profit organizations. The professional workshops for the day care providers present science concepts using fun, hands-on activities incorporating everyday objects in a supportive environment that encourages participants to gain self-confidence by "doing" science and dispels the misconception that science can only be accomplished using expensive, high-tech equipment. The annual museum open house and event programs are age-appropriate science experiences families can enjoy together. Whether it's exploring the museum exhibits or trying the hands-on science experiments, the families are bonding, learning science concepts, and creating a positive attitude about science and museums as they continue their journeys as lifelong learners.

For many of these families, The Discovery Museums' open house or event activities are their first museum experience. Exploring the Wonders of Science with Family Child Cares allows The Discovery Museums to engage an audience who might not otherwise utilize museums as educational resources and environments that promote family togetherness. Partnering with Acre Family Day Care extends The Discovery Museums' mission to inspire curiosity and love of learning through interactive discovery, hands-on inquiry, and scientific investigation beyond the scope of our traditional audience.

Exploring the Wonders of Science with Family Day Cares is an example of how museums can successfully foster relationships with other types of non-profits to further the goals of each institution. The reception of the program by the family day care providers and the families they serve has been extremely positive. Attendance for the museum open house and event activities typically reaches 100 participants while approximately half (25) of the Acre Family Child Care's family day care providers attend the professional development workshop.

The following quotes reflect the providers' opinions of the workshops (English is their second language): "I liked that time went fast, meaning that it was very nice, interesting and lost (lots) of learning activities," "I like use my hand because when you touch you feeling difent sesation," and "I liked the hands on activities because I felt relaxed with the different tuxtures."

Kathy Reticker, Agency Director, best exemplifies the impact of the partnership in the following quote, "This partnership with the Discovery Museum(s) is one we cherish at Acre and one that we hope will continue to grow. It has impacted all of the aspects of our organization, the providers, the children and their families. The staff of the Discovery Museum(s) have been incredibly professional and respectful of the different cultures that make up the Acre community, and the caliber of the trainings they offer have been unsurpassed. There has been a genuine understanding of family child care and how it works which has led the Museum(s') staff to develop curriculum perfectly suited to our group."